Barbour promises 'serious' campaign if he runs in 2012
January 27th, 2011
03:35 PM ET
12 years ago

Barbour promises 'serious' campaign if he runs in 2012

Washington (CNN) - Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told a room of South Carolina Republicans Wednesday that if he decides to seek the GOP presidential nomination, it will be a "serious" campaign.

"If I get in this thing, it's going to be a serious effort," Barbour told a crowd of roughly 30 Republican movers and shakers in Spartanburg, according to longtime GOP fundraiser Barry Wynn, who was in the room.

The Spartanburg meeting was one of two closed-door sessions organized Wednesday by political strategist Chip Felkel to introduce Barbour to GOP influentials in the early primary state. The other meeting was held Wednesday morning in nearby Greenville.

Wynn, a former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, told CNN that Barbour said he has yet to make a decision about his political future. But, Wynn noted, "My view is he is prepared to get serious."

"I think that he is kind of laying the foundation, and doing the things you have to do to see whether or not you want to devote a year and a half of your life to this," Wynn said.

Wynn said he's confident that Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee and Republican Governors Association, has the political smarts to run a savvy presidential campaign.

"If he gets in, I think he will be jet-propelled and it won't be timid," Wynn said.

Wednesday's meeting in Spartanburg, held at the downtown office of South Carolina GOP Chairwoman Karen Floyd, did not sit well with another former party leader.

Katon Dawson, who helmed the state party from 2002 until 2009, said it was "inappropriate" of Floyd to host a private meeting with a possible presidential candidate at the offices of her communications consulting firm.

Floyd's term is up in May 2009, and both she and Dawson are likely to be asked to sign on to presidential campaigns as state-level advisers.

Dawson said the private meeting casts doubt on Floyd's ability to be impartial when dealing with a potentially large field of presidential candidates.

"To have a closed-door private meeting with one of the potential candidates in the midst of negotiating a debate and the First-in-the-South primary, I would not think that's appropriate," Dawson told CNN.

Joel Sawyer, a spokesman for the South Carolina GOP, disputed that charge, saying that Floyd hopes to hold meetings with all of the Republicans considering presidential bids in 2012.

Sawyer said Floyd already met with several possible contenders – including former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum - to help raise money for the party's victory program last year.

Wynn also said he has no problem with Floyd's participation in the Barbour confab.

"My view is that it's perfectly appropriate to do that, as long as you're willing to do that for any legitimate candidate who happens to come by," Wynn told CNN.

Filed under: 2012 • Haley Barbour
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Glenn Koons

    Haley is a smart guy and a good pol on economic sanity: balancing the budget, cutting taxes, spending and reg. He will be welcome in the Pub debates even if he will not win. Miss. has improved since he has been guv.

    January 27, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    These Republicans with their delusions of grandeur ... Barbour, Palin, Pawlenty, Bachmann and every other Republican with a pulse ... no ideas, just a willingness to spout lies and talking points, hoping they'll be the next political celebrity long enough that their party will vote for them ...

    Nothing of substance, at a time when our country needs intelligence, hard work, vision and an ability to bring people together and inspire them to achieve great things.

    You know, someone like President Obama!

    January 27, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. james

    Give me a break, if this guy wins even one state I would be shocked. All the republicans have are a few non-charismatic semi-intellects (Pawlenty, Romni etc), and a bunch of semi-charasmatic non-intellects (Palin, Bauchman, etc).

    January 27, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    "Serious campaign," really? I thought that we could have a few silly campaigns going to lighten the mood. If he can't run like he going to win then why would he run in the first place. I hope he is more than a single issue candidate.

    January 27, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    This guy is a clown. Mississippi is a mess. does Haley want to know where all of the Federal Tax dollars go? it's to states like his. yet he will complain that we all pay too much. he is one of the chief net recipients of our tax dollars. How's that educational system down there? that's what i thought.

    January 27, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. Gil

    Just get rid of that drawl or you haven't got a chance!

    January 27, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. obama victim

    Barbour did an outstanding job with the Mississippi recovery from Katrina. There has been tremendous economic growth in the state, and he does a great job in addressing budget issues. He has extensive expierience in government and the private spectre. When people learn more about him, they will like what they see. Dems should dismiss him at their own peril.

    January 27, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  8. D. Bunker

    And, by the way, "cutting taxes" is NOT "fiscal sanity." It is the opposite: fiscal INsanity (makes the deficit WORSE). It's really sad how many Friedman/Rand cultists there are running around this country in serious need of de-programming.

    January 27, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. Whatever

    I wish there were a rule that once you declare candidancy (excluding POTUS), that candidate must resign from current office/post. Let him/her support themselves and family on their savings. Would be less people running for office!!!! ONLY SERIOUS CANDIDATE NEED APPLY!!!!

    I can dream...

    January 27, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. KABA1

    One thing I now know about US politics is that voters choose people based on capabilty as president but, not least, also based on how they look. Think about it before you jump into it! Look yourself into the mirror and wonder if american people would want to see a face like yours Mrs Barbour on their tv everyday. I don't think so. My advise would be for you to retire. Just like Juliani you won't get anywhere. Please.

    January 27, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. thomas

    "serious" as red beens and rice !

    January 27, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. Indy

    I hope he can handle the grueling schedule, you need to be in pretty good shape to make a seirous run at this thing called running for President. Tough coming from a state that recieves so much in Fed dollars and trying to be a Republican, he will need a lot of luck to get anywhere. Republicans are going to have to come up with an exceptional candidate to beat Obama, and thus far there is no one out there that will stand a chance.

    January 27, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. carrotroot

    Absolutely NO.

    January 27, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. Sniffit


    Ranked Last in – median family income, nest egg index, students above advanced grade 8 math education, number of people who completed high school (including GED) and, my favorite...visits to the dentist.

    ranked Second to Last in – personal per capita income, best educated index, health index, students above advanced grade 4 math, students above proficient in grade 8 math, physical exercise, median value of owner-occupied housig units.

    Ranked Third to Last in – percentage of people who have bachelor's degrees or higher, perecnt of people who have completed a bachelor's degree, scaled scores for grade 8 math, library visits per capita.

    Most importantly, though, they are ranked FIRST in Governors who try to rewrite history to make it sound like the Citizens Councils weren't blatantly racist segregationists who disagreed with the KKK SOLELY on the strategy for keeping segregation alive.

    January 27, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. Palin: Like Coulter ... Minus the Manparts

    Maybe if he learns to speak "real English" like the rest of "real America", he can then consider running for president. Until that time, he needs to increase the literacy and intelligence quotient in his own state and voters.

    January 27, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. vic nashville tn

    Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Gov. Mitt Romney has a chance if the win the primary

    November republicans won the congress end of January they are losing independents

    January 27, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    Oh, and did I forget to mention that Mississippi receives approximately $2.00 in federal funding for every $1.00 of fedearl taxes it contributes? But hey...I'm sure if you ask him, Baboo will be happy to tell you how much he hates redistributing wealth.

    January 27, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  18. DrFood

    If he becomes president, will he continue Mrs. Obama's fight against childhood obesity?

    January 27, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. gt

    haley is a good guy a good gov. ... not presidential ..

    January 27, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Everytime I see your face, Barbour, two things come to mind IMMEDIATELY: Mississippi Burning, AND your good 'ole Town Council.

    I shudder to think of the likes of you, Palin, Bachmann, Ryan representing us in the world stage. You're uncouth boors incapable of "connecting" with humanity here or abroad because your primary and only focus in your political lives is YOUR enrichment even if it is at the expense of your country or the citizens of the world.

    Look to Obama and you're looking at all the qualities of a natural born leader.
    You can't coach it. And you certainly cannot buy it.

    January 27, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. Adalbert

    This big fat racist pig will never make it.

    January 27, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    This mouth-breathing neanderthal doesn't stand a chance – if this was 1960, maybe, but 2011, no way. Do we really want a country that mimicks Mississippi?

    January 27, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    HUMOR is good for the soul.
    If you want to get 'worked up' look to those calling your President a Nazi, Muslim, non-citizen, witchdoctor, baby-killer,etc.
    Lighten up.

    January 27, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. matthew

    Hey why don't y'all all shut up, you know nothing of Mississippi. Gov Barbour has helped this state alot

    January 27, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  25. SPLAT!~

    A 'serious' campaign? We want the GOP to give us a 'serious' candidate!~

    January 27, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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